Financial Literacy- Fall 2022

In Fall 2022, our office hosted a series of three workshops about different aspects of financial literacy! We started in October with a financial aid workshop. We discussed how to navigate FAFSA and financial aid.

In November, our second workshop’s theme was how to Manage Money Masterfully. This budgeting workshop reviewed paychecks, credit reports, how to set financial goals, and how to set up a personal budget.

Our financial literacy series concluded with our December workshop on Investing in Your Future. UMass Lowell alum John Molvar discussed investing and financial wellness after college. Topics included credit cards, stocks, and other investments.

Love Thyself- 12/14/23

On Valentine’s Day 2023, our office partnered with the Association of Campus Events, Office of Multicultural Affairs, UMatter2, and the Rist Institute for Sustainability to host the Love Thyself Event!

With a different view on Valentine’s Day, our event focused on self love! Not only did this event promote emotional health with an emphasis on self-care, but many of the stations encouraged connectedness and community, promoting social health.

In the University Crossing Atrium, there were activities corresponding to each of the five love languages. Our office hosted a station to create your own vision board for Acts of Service.

Students were able to stuff a Valentine’s heart and spend some time coloring with ACE to represent Physical Touch and Quality Time respectively.

UMatter2 hosted a table with white boards for students to write positive Words of Affirmation.

The Rist Institute for Sustainability represented Gift-Giving with a bouquet making station.

In addition, OMA hosted another table for self-love for students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community.

Jennifer’s Run- 10/15/22

On October 15th, 2022, our office hosted the annual Jennifer’s Run. We value physical and social health and this event is a prime example of both physical exercise and coming together as a community.

Jennifer’s Run is a 5K to commemorate Jennifer D’Amour, an extraordinary student-athlete, student leader, and staff member in the Office of Student Activities & Leadership who tragically lost her life in a car accident in 1999. The run also helps support scholarships for the Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

The 5k began at the Campus Recreation Center, ran through campus, and ended back at the CRC. Runners received a swag bad, a medal, t-shirt, and a shoe wallet for their participation.

Summary of Health Educational Intervention:

Ella Zhu

Office of Student Life and Well-Being

Summary of Health Educational Intervention <You Are Healthy, And Beautiful>


Project Overview

           <You Can Be Healthy, And Beautiful> is designed to provide all undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Massachusetts Lowell with the behavior change, skills, knowledge, and resources they need to reduce obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Massachusetts is a state that focuses on education and offers many high-quality jobs. In this state with a strong humanistic culture, people are busy with studying and work every day, which shortens the time for exercise and saves time for meals by eating unhealthy fast food. Some people focus on their studies and careers, but they are careless of their health. Obesity rates are rising in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts (County Health Ranking, 2022). This educational-based program will address risk factors and equip our students with healthy behaviors that will reduce their risk of obesity and prevent long-term health complications. 

Project Background

           Obesity is an epidemic that has put strains on American families, affecting overall health, health care costs, productivity, and military readiness. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women (Faruque, S et al, 2019). For adults, the healthy BMI range is from 18.5 to 24.9, regardless of age or gender, and anything over this means you are considered overweight for your height (Zierle, 2021). For adults, overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25, and obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30 (WHO, 2022). In the United States, the average adult man has a BMI of 26.6 and the average adult woman has a BMI of 26.5 (CDC, 2022). Over the five years to 2022, 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including obesity (IBISWorld, 2022). The United States ranks 12th in the world for obesity (World Population Review, 2022). It has become a serious problem in the country. Obesity is defined as a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. (Mayo Clinic, Obesity 2021). It is a serious health complication because it is associated with worse health conditions, poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life. It is also associated with the leading causes of death in the United States (CDC, Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences 2021).

               At a state level, Massachusetts has more than half of the adults being diagnosed with overweight or obesity. Obesity in Massachusetts is a concern. Both Blacks and Hispanics in the state are more likely than whites and Asian to be both overweight and obese. The obesity rate of Black people in Massachusetts is 34.7%, Hispanic is 32.6%, White is 24.0%. Whereas Asians are the least likely to be overweight or obese, which has a rate of 10.2% (America’s Health Ranking, 2021). The causes for obesity are a combination of individual factors such as genetics, eating habits, physical activity, income and environment, education, and food marketing (Mayo Clinic, Obesity 2021). Eating habits and Insufficient physical activities are the biggest causes of obesity for American college students (NICHD, 2022). Students gain weight when they eat more calories than they burn through activity. This imbalance is the greatest contributor to weight gain.

Problem Statement

           Emerging adulthood is a crucial phase for health, it is frequently paired with a shift towards unhealthy eating behaviors and physical inactivity, which in turn will lead to obesity or some negative health complications. Obesity is generally caused by eating unhealthy food and moving too little, also some social factors such as poverty (Fruh et al, 2017). Lasting unhealth-related behaviors are adopted and is a time when there is an increased risk for unhealthy weight gain, or it could contribute to the development of obesity and other life-threatening health conditions (Cawley et al 2021). College students are more vulnerable to adapting unhealthy behaviors due to the transition of an independent, self-reliant lifestyle (Frush et al, 2017). The phase of  young adulthood may be a critical developmental window for establishing weight gain prevention efforts, especially to increase the prevalence of obesity in the US. Obesity not only harms the body, it also increases anxiety and money consumption in young adults. Understanding healthy eating behavior and appropriate physical behavior during young adulthood will achieve a better life. Understanding of the modifiable factors which lead to obesity in this transitional life stage is important and essential  for the rest of lives. <You Can Be Healthy, and Beautiful > would be a  tailored intervention. 

Population Statement

         <You can be Healthy, and Beautiful> education program will focus on the population of all majors students in the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Lowell is a city alongside Cambridge, it is one of two traditional seats of Middlesex County. This year, the adult obesity rate in Middlesex County is 23%, and the physical inactivity rate is 22% (County Health Ranking, 2022). Compared to the 22% adult obesity rate and 19% physical inactivity rate in 2020, in the same geological area, it has an increase in both rates (County Health Ranking, 2020).  Another reason to focus on the Umass Lowell students is, poverty is a risk factor for obesity. The Income inequality in Middlesex County is 4.9% (County Health Ranking, 2022). Households in Lowell have a median annual income of $62,196, which is much less than the median annual income of $84,385 in the state of Massachusetts (United States Census Bureau, 2020). Lowell is home to two institutions of higher education. UMass Lowell, part of the University of Massachusetts system, has three campuses in the city. Middlesex Community College’s two campuses are in Lowell. This city has a strong humanities vibe and is affected by rich culture. Public Health workers have the responsibility to guide Lowell’s students in a healthy living track, encouraging the young people to stay away from obesity. Therefore, it is necessary to promote an obesity educational intervention that focuses on the population of Umass Lowell students.


Faruque, S., Tong, J., Lacmanovic, V., Agbonghae, C., Minaya, D. M., & Czaja, K. (2019). The Dose Makes the Poison: Sugar and Obesity in the United States – a Review. Polish journal of food and nutrition sciences, 69(3), 219–233.

Fruh S. M. (2017). Obesity: Risk factors, complications, and strategies for sustainable long-term weight management. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(S1), S3–S14.

Cawley, J., Biener, A., Meyerhoefer, C., Ding, Y., Zvenyach, T., Smolarz, B. G., & Ramasamy, A. (2021). Direct medical costs of obesity in the United States and the most populous states. Journal of managed care & specialty pharmacy, 27(3), 354–366.

Massachusetts. Massachusetts – Place Explorer – Data Commons. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Wellness Wednesdays – Serenity Center

Gimp Making – Feb 1 

Students got to channel their inner childhood by making gimp. They got to pick their favorite colors and relearn all the fun gimp designs. Soft, warm pretzels were served, and students came together to make gimp and enjoy each other’s company.  

Journaling – Feb 8 

Students were able to journal to get connected to their inner selves in this workshop by creating their own journals. It was a very relaxing night for students to distress from early semester worries.  

Knitting – Feb 15 

We invited students to learn an easy intro to knitting design and create their own knit projects. Students came together to learn and help one another with knitting.  

Coloring – Feb 22 

Students joined us for quiet coloring with relaxing music. We had yummy snacks while students got to color in a coloring book, enjoying one another’s company.  

DIY Aromatherapy – March 1 

We hosted a DIY aromatherapy night. Students got to create their own aromatherapy blend with various essential oils. They got to create DIY roll ons to rub onto their wrists between four blends: sleep blend, happiness blend, focus blend, & calm blend. 

Meditation – March 15 

We hosted meditation sessions every 20 minutes for students to drop by and join in. It was a very successful event as students came to distress from the mid semester point and were able to channel their mind and body in a relaxing way. Students also looked over affirmation cards and wrote their own on sticky notes to hang up.  

Therapy Dogs – March 22 

Sookie, a therapy dog, came to visit the Serenity Center for this Wellness Wednesday. Over 50 students came by to relax and enjoy time with the dog. We provided fun bone shaped cookies for students to enjoy.  

Mindful Movement – March 29 

Students were able to practice gentle yoga poses that they can incorporate into their everyday routine.  

Sensory Event – April 5 

This event was created for Disability Inclusion Week. We hosted a sensory friendly night where we made bracelets and enjoyed some tea with soothing music. We had different textured food including popcorn, goldfish, Oreos, chocolate chips marshmallows, and raisins for students to enjoy.   

Mindful Eating – April 19 

Students joined us and our campus dietitian to learn to be more mindful when eating to appreciate the nourishment food provides.  
Gratitude Circle – April 26 

Students wrapped up the year with us in a circle of gratitude to help focus on the positives from this year. It was a great way to finish the semester of strong and allowed students to enjoy one’s company before the stress of finals.  

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Final Capstone Project by Casey Tiernan

Before working for the office for Student Life and Well-being, if you had asked me about the 8 dimensions of wellness, I would look at you puzzled. Now, I can easily describe each one in detail with ways you can maintain that specific dimension in your daily life. I had the opportunity to work and create my capstone with the office. The office of Student Life and Wellbeing identified emotional health, environmental health, physical health, social health, spiritual health, financial health, occupational health, and intellectual health as the 8 dimensions of wellness. Each one is important in order to address and maintain the needs of students at UMass Lowell. As a public health major, the 8 dimensions of wellness are very important to me. I want to use my degree for health education and health promotion so this opportunity to work for the Office of Student Life and Wellbeing was perfect for me.

As an intern, I was given creative freedom to design a project that the office would use for the future that could be given out to students. I created a brochure with general knowledge about the 8 dimensions of wellness as well as one way they can maintain each one on campus. I used the office colors and logos to tie everything together. I also created a flyer for each of the 8 dimensions with the definition that the office uses for each (on their website), additional campus resources and websites, and other ways they can maintain their wellbeing such as apps. Once I had designed everything, I pilot tested my project with students who signed up via the Instagram page. I sent out a survey looking for constructive feedback to then adjust anything that needed to be adjusted. I got great feedback from students which made me feel like I made a difference and expanded their knowledge on the different dimensions. The office passed along my project to the STARS team to also use with students. Knowing that my work will be used, and students will get to see it for years to come, makes me extremely happy. I am so grateful to have been able to intern for the office and get to use my creativity and public health skills.

UMass Lowell introduces Office of Student Life and Well-being

(Photo courtesy of Hannah Monbleau/UMass Lowell) On March 22, The Office of Student Life and Well-being hosted a trivia night dedicated to sleep, which was well received by students.

Lillie Zate
Connector Staff

Recently, UMass Lowell has introduced the Office of Student Life and Well-being, with a focus on educating students on the eight dimensions of well-being and incorporating health-promoting actions across campus culture, improving the lives of students and helping them in every aspect of their lives.

The eight dimensions of well-being that the office focuses on are emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual well-being.

“We are aiming to create a hub for all of the different wellness efforts in every dimension of wellness,” said Hannah Monbleau, assistant director of the Office of Student Life and Well-being. The office is trying to use holistic approaches to improve how students feel on campus in a way that can help them in the long run.

Across campus, many areas already have health initiatives going on, such as UMatter2. The Office of Student Health and Well-being wants to bring everything together and gather resources that can provide for students. As a result, students will be able to learn healthy habits and take away small changes that can improve and help them live healthy lives, in a more proactive and holistic way.

The Office of Student Life and Well-being hopes to reach their goals in several ways such as publishing resources, hosting seminars, lectures and workshops, partnering with other offices and programs on campus, having workshops during orientation for incoming freshmen.

UMass Lowell is not the first university to start something such as this – this is a part of a network of about 70 institutions across the country that promote health and well-being, which is continuing to grow every day, focusing on a well-being model to support students.

The office wants to break down barriers for students that might be preventing them from getting help and gaining the skills they need to meet all the eight dimensions of well-being.

“Other institutions are trying to find better ways to help their students; our office aims to find better strategies that are more proactive so students can have the tools they need to cope with the challenges they have…”

The Office of Student Life and Well-being is still a new organization and is growing every day, and they have UMass Lowell students’ interests as a top priority.

“We’re seeing that students have so many things they need help with, and we want to have all their resources for them, in one place,” Monbleau said. “We hope students can gain an understanding that the university cares for them, and we are here for them in all aspects of their lives.”

The Office is trying to find ways to track what students are struggling with and gather data to fine-tune the programs and resources they can offer students. They also want to become a place where students feel comfortable providing them with feedback.

“We’re hoping to make the lives of students a little easier and their experiences at UMass Lowell a lot better,” said Monbleau.

The office hopes to improve academic performance and the overall campus atmosphere by partnering up with other organizations on campus and providing resources.

Ruben Sanca, director of Student Life and Well-being added, “It’s important that once we can address the student body and get them the help they need, we can also help our staff and faculty. The more we help them, the better we can help our students,” he said.

The Office of Student Life and Well-being believes that the university needs to find ways where we can all work together.

“I think that in doing this and educating students, we will be learning more things ourselves,” said Monbleau.

Story appeared in The Connector student newspaper on March 29, 2022.


The mission of the Office of Student Life & Well-being is to advance the Division of Academic and Student Affairs holistic concept for student success by infusing health promoting actions and collaborations into campus culture.

This blog will be used to publish student stories on how they are incorporating the 8 dimensions of wellness into their daily life on campus.